Will The Intelligent Design Movement Bring People to Jesus Christ?

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By Dr. John C. Whitcomb
Creationist from Whitcomb Ministries

Do we really think that we can change the hearts and minds of men by the overwhelming logic and evidences for the intelligent design of the living world and the universe around us?

At the end of the 20th century, the academic world was hearing more and more about IDM – the Intelligent Design Movement. It was the proposition that the biological world could not have come into existence by mere undirected time and chance. Upon closer inspection, under the lenses of powerful microscopes hitherto unimaginable, irreducible, specified complexity came to light within the cells of living things.

Thus, Charles Darwin and his followers were in total error when they assumed that living cells were simple blobs of protoplasm that could easily “evolve” from lifeless chemicals floating in the earth’s ancient oceans. As one writer expressed it, the actual, incomprehensible, incomparable complexity of the cell was therefore a “black box” to Darwin! The Intelligent Design Movement claims many outstanding scientists and philosophers. They have discovered new ways of detecting signs of intelligence, just like detectives looking for clues or archaeologists searching for undeniably human artifacts. In fact, the federal government has even sponsored an expensive program – SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence), with the expectation that they can determine whether someone – rather than merely something – is really out there!

Of course, there have been thousands of scientists – and thinking people in general – who have seen intelligent design in all of the living world. In fact, only a tiny minority of people have ever been consistent atheists! For centuries, it has been recognized that blind, purposeless, meaningless chance could never have produced human minds. If that were the case, then an atheist would have no reason to expect people to believe that what he says is really true! It really requires profound faith to be an evolutionist. No one has explained how the first speck of life could have evolved from lifeless chemicals. Nothing is evolving today. The famous Second Law of Thermodynamics describes a universe that is everywhere and always going downward to cosmic collapse, not upward to higher complexity.

There are trillions of fossils of plants, marine creatures, insects, reptiles and mammals in the earth’s crust, but no transitional forms connecting lower forms to higher forms have ever been found. Mutations are harmful, if not deadly. “Natural selection” can only select from living things that are here now; it cannot explain how the hundreds of thousands of living kinds got here in the first place. Complex body parts, such as legs and wings, require massive genetic information; but evolutionism has no concept of where such information came from.

Richard Dawkins, professor of the public understanding of science at the University of Oxford, perhaps the world’s most prominent atheistic evolutionist, admits that “living objects… look designed, they look overwhelmingly as if they were designed… Biology is the study of complicated things which give the impression of having been designed for a purpose.” To which John Lennox, professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford, replied: “Such statements provoke the question: Why? After all, if it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck, why not call it a duck? Why are such scientists not prepared to draw the obvious inference, and say that living things look as if they are designed precisely because they are designed?” (God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? [Oxford, England: Lion Hudson, 2007], p. 77).

The Intelligent Design Movement has been widely popularized by Philip E. Johnson, (professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley) in his books, beginning with Darwin on Trial in 1991.

Dr. Johnson, considered by many to be the chief architect of IDM, has clearly demonstrated that neo-Darwinian, materialistic evolutionism (which presupposes atheistic naturalism) simply cannot explain the nearly infinite complexity of living things. By inserting “the wedge” of Intelligent Design into the biological sciences, he is quite hopeful that materialistic naturalism will be uprooted in universities and public schools, and that science and sociology textbooks will be purged of evolutionary distortions.

These are noble goals; and most of the argumentation of IDM books is, to this extent, on target. Every Christian should applaud legitimate efforts to restore sanity and reality to the study of ultimate origins in our public schools, our universities and even in many of our “Christian” colleges.

The tragedy of the ID movement, however, it that it stops very far short of honoring God’s written revelation, the Bible. In fact, the book of Genesis as literal history seems to be an embarrassment to most of these scholars.

Sadly, Johnson raised high the banner of religious neutrality for the entire ID movement when he said: “For the present I recommend that we put the biblical issues to one side. The last thing we should want to do or seem to want to do is to threaten the freedom of scientific inquiry. Bringing the Bible anywhere near this issue just raises the ‘Inherit the Wind’ stereotype and closes minds instead of opening them. We can wait until we have a better scientific theory, one genuinely based on unbiased empirical evidence and not materialistic philosophy, before we need to worry about whether and to what extent that theory is consistent with the Bible” (“How to Sink a Battleship,” in Mere Creation: Science, Faith and Intelligent Design, Wm. A. Dembski, ed. [Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1998], p. 453).

But how can we really help people understand the enormously crucial issue of our ultimate origin if we “put the biblical issues to one side”? Would listening to our God speak to us in His written revelation “threaten the freedom of scientific inquiry”? Would “bringing the Bible anywhere near this issue” actually “(close) minds instead of opening them”? And how long do we have to “wait until we have a better scientific theory . . . before we need to worry about whether and to what extent that theory is consistent with the Bible”?

Four years later, Johnson insisted: “Get the Bible and the Book of Genesis out of the debate because you do not want to raise the so-called Bible-science dichotomy. Phrase the argument in such a way that you can get it heard in the secular academy and in a way that tends to unify the religious dissenters. That means concentrating on, ‘Do you need a Creator to do the creating, or can nature do it on its own?’ and refusing to get sidetracked onto other issues, which people are always trying to do. They’ll ask, ‘What do you think of Noah’s flood?’ or something like that. Never bite on such questions because they’ll lead you into a trackless wasteland and you’ll never get out of it” (“Berkeley’s Radical: An Interview with Phillip E. Johnson” in Touchstone 15:5 [June, 2002], p. 41).

Is the “Bible-science dichotomy” something that God’s people should be afraid of? Is it really God’s plan for the true church to modify His creation message so that we “can get it heard in the secular academy”? Will such a drastic compromise really “unify the religious dissenters”? Are the magnitude and effects of the global flood of Genesis 6-9 part of a “trackless wasteland” into which we should refuse to be “sidetracked”? Click here to read Parts 3-9

For information on the “new science” that is seeking to “prove” that God is an energy which inhabits all things, read A “Wonderful” Deception by Warren Smith.